Jazz Baby

author Lisa Wheeler

illustrator R. Gregory Christie


ISBN-13: 9780152025229

Starred Review

Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community.

© Kirkus 2007


This stylish, retro offering has rhythm and bounce from first line (“Brother’s hands tap. / Sister’s hands snap. / Itty-bitty Baby’s hands / CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!”) to last. Punctuated by Jazz Baby’s joyous enthusiasm, the percussive text scans like a musical dream, a nearly flawless scat on music, dance, and the contagious joy of jazz.

© Booklist 2007

2008 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Book!

2008 CCBC Choices List!

2008 ALA Notable Book List!

2008 Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title!

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“Brother’s hands tap.
Sister’s hands snap.
Itty-bitty Baby’s hands clap-clap-clap!”


I don’t think it’s possible to read Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie  aloud without bouncing a bit. This book, which earned the Geisel Honor Award, works on so many levels.  Your Music Smart kids will be pulled into the the rhythm of the rhyme (and no one does rhyme as well as Lisa Wheeler).  Your Body Smart kids can snap or tap along as you read. With all the “doo-wop-doo”s and “bop-bop-bop”s, this is a perfect springboard to introduce onomatopoeia.

Activity Ideas:

  1. Brainstorm a list of sound words with your kids and have them find objects in the room (a pencil against an old coffee can) that make those sounds.

  2. Put on a jazz cd and let them experiment with keeping the beat.

  3. Take photos of your students making the sounds, print them off, and have the kids write the corresponding sound words to make a “Jazz Kids” class book.

  4. Cool, daddio!

  5. Kristen Remenar

  6. Author, Librarian, Speaker


Go to Kristen’s site and find out “how 32 pages can add up to a lifetime love of learning” and learn about other great books and activities.

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